CBN plans cheaper funds for non-oil export businesses

Central Bank of Nigeria’s Director, Research and Development, Dr Uwatt Uwatt, has hinted that the apex bank is planning to introduce cheaper funds for operators on the agric-value chain, in order to reduce the high cost of accessing funds for non-oil export businesses.

Uwatt who gave this hint in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, recently noted that there was the need to reduce the cost of loan able funds to non-oil exporters as such would raise production volumes and boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

He explained that to check this trend, the apex bank canvassed for improved cheaper credits to everyone on the agricvalue chain and also introduced the NIRAL scheme to de-risk agric lending.

The finance expert also said that the N200 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme and N220 billion Micro, Small and medium Enterprises (MSMEs) were also instituted to enable small businesses access cheap funds.

Uwatt who spoke on the theme ‘Overview of non-oil sector in Nigeria’, pointed out that the drop in prices of crude oil in international markets had renewed the need to revamp the non-oil sector.

“Declines in global crude oil prices have triggered major headwinds for the economy.

Continued dependence on oil poses a big threat to economic stability. The nation is now trying to retrace its steps from over dependence on oil for major part of its revenues,” he said.

The CBN director explained that the nation is now trying to retrace its steps from over dependence on crude oil which has not yielded positive results.

He said between 2011 and 2015, the contributions of oil sector to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) stood at 12 per cent while the federal allocations reports for August this year, showed that non-oil contributes 57.5 per cent to federally-collected revenues.

Uwatt said the government had adopted protectionism policies, trade liberalisation, export promotion policy and privatisation to drive non-oil export.